Each summer, the Dorothea Dix Park sunflowers in Raleigh are a truly hot topic, and not just because that July heat has announced its entrance. Seeing those beautiful flowers is one of our favorite things to do in Central North Carolina throughout the year.
And if you’re familiar with them, you’ll agree with us that this is a can’t-miss event in Oak City! To get you better prepared for the next round in 2020, we’re sharing a few of our own photos, tips, and a bit of background on one of Raleigh’s most iconic places.
Hopefully, you’ll get to enjoy this awesome bucket list-worthy event along with us!
These Dorothea Dix Park sunflowers were also included in our guides covering a weekend in Raleigh and free things to do in the city. We originally created this guide on July 16, 2016. It has been maintained and updated, as of February 25, 2020.
Sunflowers at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh
For quick info about Raleigh sunflowers (including when to visit and Destination Sunfest info), please scroll to the bottom of this post.
Dorothea Dix Park Background
Clocking in at 308 acres, Dorothea Dix Park is Oak City’s largest park. Aside from housing these Raleigh sunflowers in 2019 (and hopefully beyond), there are lots of cool spots to hang out, have a picnic, fly a kite, and just enjoy the scenery.
It’s one of our favorite patches of green space in the area and there’s also cool views of the city’s skyline from some parts, including the spot where the sunflowers were planted for 2019.
In case you didn’t know, Dorothea Dix was a fairly noteworthy person (understatement) and her tireless efforts were the focus of Dorothea Dix: Advocate for Mental Health Care by Meg Muckenhoupt.
Raleigh Sunflowers Field Background
Starting in 2010, the sunflowers were planted in different parts of the area around the Neuse River Greenway Trail. In 2018, it moved to Dix Park in a more comfortable spot.
These sunflowers are eventually taken and used for biofuel that power city vehicles, so that’s another reason to go check this out and support the effort.
Honestly, I think this is a great way to mix earth-friendly practices with tourism and really applaud the efforts of Raleigh for making this more accessible to visitors.
I always felt like we were trespassing (we probably were) by going up and seeing the beautiful Raleigh sunflowers. However, they were just too pretty to avoid. Now, we’re able to check them out without the worry of breaking any rules!
We think these sunflowers are earth-friendly and also a kid-friendly event.
Starting in 2019, Dorothea Dix Park decided it was time to celebrate these sunflowers, and Destination Sunfest is partly that.
Officially, the event celebrates the park’s completion of its Master Plan, too. But what better way to commemorate than inviting the communities of Raleigh and surrounding cities and towns to come and enjoy the sunflowers!
For 2020, the big day is July 11. From 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, Dorothea Dix Park will have a Ferris Wheel, carousel, food and drink, live entertainment, and more fun waiting for you!
Fun Tips for Enjoying Raleigh Sunflowers
When to Visit
Note: We’re still waiting for word on when 2020’s batch of sunflowers is set to bloom and will be letting you know as soon as we hear something.
For 2019, the sunflowers started blooming on July 8 and should last until July 22.
Address and Parking Info
First, Dix Park’s address is 2105 Umstead Dr but we found parking near the Dix Park Soccer Fields at 75 Hunt Dr. I absolutely recommend you arrive to Raleigh early so you can enjoy the Dix Park sunflowers. Of course, I always say that if you want to avoid crowds.
We’ve arrived as early as 7:30 am and there have been huge crowds. I’m not saying you should camp out overnight, but just make this one of the first things you do if you want some awesome people-less photos!
Things to Bring
A couple of other things, bring sunscreen and some bug spray (earth-friendly, of course!) to cope with the hot sun that’s coming and any critters that are hanging around the sunflowers. Just don’t spray any bees with it!
Respect the Sunflowers Field
Most importantly, please respect the sunflowers field. That means leaving it just like you found it for the next person. Two important things to remember are this:
- Stay on the designated paths
- No picking of flowers or eating seeds
Our Thoughts and Yours, Too!
Is it worth it? Maybe this batch of sunflower porn tells you what I think. Just seeing the colors and so many of them justify the drive and walk out there.
Standing tall, which ain’t too bad when you’ve got the sun to contend with during the hot summer. A happy sunflower is a good sunflower to see. Is this worth it?
What do you think of these Dorothea Dix Park sunflowers? Would you get up early or wait until later and brave the heat for them? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below.
Dorothea Dix Park Sunflowers Quick Info
- Dorothea Dix Park: 2105 Umstead Dr, Raleigh, NC 27603
- Sunflowers Parking: 75 Hunt Dr, Raleigh, NC 27603
- Note: Parking is not available on campus during Destination Sunfest (see below)
Destination Sunfest Hours
- Saturday, July 11: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Parking: NC State Centennial Campus (Free Shuttle runs between the parking lots and Dorothea Dix Park)
- Admission: FREE
Tips for Dorothea Dix Park Sunflowers and Destination Sunfest
- Arrive Early
- Pack Bug Spray and Sunscreen
- Stay on the Paths and No Picking Flowers or Eating Seeds
- Have Fun!